Former Asda boss Andy Bond turns his back on big corporates

A RETAIL high-flyer who became boss of Asda at the age of 39 is to turn his back on big corporate life following his departure from the chain.

Andy Bond spent five years as Asda's chief executive after joining the supermarket in 1994 but has opted to join two up-and-coming retail businesses - fashion chain Republic and forecourt operator Euro Garages.

As executive chairman of both firms, he will invest his own money and offer management time in return for an equity stake in both businesses.

The appointments represent a change of direction for the retail boss, who has long been seen as a prime candidate to head a FTSE 100 Index company but now says he wants to move on from big corporate life.

The two firms are near to his Yorkshire home and have plans to grow from medium-sized players into large-scale national operators.

Republic, which is based in Leeds, launched in May 2007 and trades from 113 stores, offering high street brands such as G-Star, Henleys and Diesel as well as its own labels such as Soul Cal and Miso.

Blackburn-based Euro Garages is the UK's second largest independent forecourt operator with 67 sites across the midlands and north of England. It has a turnover of 285 million and employs about 1,000 people.

Mr Bond has already announced his involvement with Portsmouth-based Wiggle, an online shop for racing bike enthusiasts.

He told The Sunday Times that he welcomed the opportunity to take a more measured and longer-term view of trading.

Mr Bond said: "A lot of big companies don't have the ability to focus on long-term growth any more because they have to be the masters of short-term financial control.

"They are corrupted by the need to report those results rather than sort out where they are going for the next five years."

Mr Bond's departure as chief executive of Wal-Mart owned Asda was announced in April but he stayed to choose his successor - chief operating officer Andy Clarke - and headed the Wal-Mart team that recently bought South Africa's Massmart.

His departure from his subsequent part-time role as chairman of the Asda executive committee was announced last week.

Mr Bond added: "Every job has a lifespan, and you judge when it's right to move on. My track record demonstrates that I've done a good job."